Message from John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES

World Wildlife Day has a star-studded cast this year, featuring the cheetah, clouded leopard, jaguar, leopard, lion, puma, snow leopard and tiger!

These majestic predators inspire us with their beauty, their speed, their strength, and their raw energy – and over the years they have also inspired the makers of fast cars, elite sports teams and high-fashion the world over.

But big cats face many threats to their survival in the wild, be it loss of habitat and prey, poaching and smuggling, human-wildlife conflict or climate change. We estimate tiger populations dropped by 95% in the last 100 years, and lion populations dropped by 40% in just 20 years.

The impacts of losing big cats goes way beyond the species themselves. They form an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth, which must be protected.

There is hope. People have caused these threats to our big cats and people can also choose to resolve them. A crisis can still be averted, if we take action now!

‘Predators under threat’, the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, shines a spotlight on the pressing need for people the world over to take action to make sure big cats survive in the wild.

We all have a role to play in securing the future of these magnificent animals. 

The use of modern technology is giving us new insights into big cats and inspired actions are underway right across the globe to save these iconic animals. Well-managed protected areas are giving big cats the wild spaces they need to roam and to hunt, creative ways are being found for people and wild animals to co-exist in harmony and CITES is providing the international legal protection big cats need from illegal trade and over exploitation.    

This special day on the United Nations calendar gives us the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of big cats and to galvanize support for the many bold initiatives that are underway to save them.

On 3rd March 2018, World Wildlife Day, let’s make sure that all of us – no matter who we are or where we are – give big cats the special attention and the big support they deserve!

John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES